Usually, I cite numbers and data while putting my point across. However, that’s not how I want to say things here. In a country like India, where most of the cases of rape or for that matter, any other crime go unreported as well as under-reported (media), numbers won’t help us reach anywhere. We, the people of different religions, castes, states, and political affiliations, might be able to congratulate ourselves over lower rates of crimes when compared to the other competing groups. So far, it seems that data has been used only to impress upon others that things are worse elsewhere and hence, we have nothing to worry at present. Yes, we are waiting for our hell to be as terrible as that of the second person on the street. Once we provide equitable distribution of hell to everyone, we will perhaps start thinking of the ways out of it.
In any case, a lot of data has been cited over the last few days by sections in the media to bring home the point that Hindustan is Rapistan in disguise. Should I contest such claims? You don’t have to go very far. That some people who never used the name Hindustan for India, find a sudden spike in their love for it, is not a coincidence. That most of these part time activists continue to spawn wealth showing misogyny, glorifying eve-teasing, and encouraging the pursuit of unrequited love on screen, makes it all the more ironical. The question ends there. They are not to be trusted. You can’t look up to them. You should not look up to them.
If you are sound of memory, you should remember how the protesters were subjected to lathicharge during the Nirbhaya Case protests at Raisina Hills. Bengaluru mass molestation evoked a response to the effect of blaming the molestation on western culture by the then Home Minister of Karnataka. In case the media didn’t tell you, he is currently the President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. What did you expect, that he would be suspended from the party? Politics doesn’t work that way. So, it is beyond any doubt that we can’t look up to the politicians of the opposition party at the centre.
The apologists for the party in power at the centre have only one agenda at every unfortunate incident in the country – “Where were you when this happened to a Hindu?” So, they are fighting the leftist liberals from the media establishments and the party in opposition tooth and nail over their hypocrisy when the fight should have been about something else. Not that it’s a bad thing but our Prime Minister who remembers the birthdays of all the leaders of the world and wishes them religiously on twitter, talks to the country so passionately when he has to count the achievements of his government but doesn’t consider speaking to the people of his country directly in such times, particularly when members from his own party are in the dock, paints a grim picture for us. When a government stops talking to its people and engages only the opposition, the country should be worried. We have nothing to look up to here either.
There were sections from the media who didn’t have their dinner after the conviction of Salman Khan in the Blackbuck poaching case. In a parallel world, I would have imagined them to have demanded swift action on such cases in contrast to about 20 years our judiciary has taken, however, that cannot be the case in India. Do remember, this is the same media that zoomed in on the father-son feud of Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav for weeks. Nothing strikes strange about it? Well, Mulayam Singh Yadav is the same person who once said – ‘Ladke hain, galtiyaan ho jaati hain (after all they are boys, mistakes do happen)’. In a parallel world, I would have imagined a complete boycott of this man from our television screens, sound boxes, and printed papers. Well, not in India. We can go to the extent of feeling sorry for one Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, the single most important factor for the miseries of the state of Bihar. In all likelihood, the media of this country stands confused about its role. Is media just a messenger? In that case, the stakeholders won’t be able to peddle their personal agenda and bias in the name of news. Can media also do activism? Yeah, but please let me do my activism from my dinner table watching twitter live feed. Also, let me do my activism when I am tired talking about Virushka wedding and Saifeena wedding. Also, let me do my activism after I have told the world how Taimur missed his poop today. Also, let me do my activism when the accused or the victim falls into my self-concocted definitions of Hindu, Muslim or Dalit. Also, let me do my activism when the establishment stops distributing me sops or declines my invaluable services on offer. In all other times, my activism will be holidaying in the Bahamas.
I have been reading all kinds of reports in the last few days, from blind narratives to depraved decoction of toxic minds. One of the reports mentioned that Indians are looking for the video of the kathua rape on porn sites. There exist other videos with hashtags on the victim’s name. If the report is correct, who are these people – Politicians? Media? Bureaucrats? Hindus? Muslims? Part-time activists? Dalits? We know these categories are born from us. We know the ones deriving voyeuristic pleasures from rape are walking amongst us. Where is the blame to be fixed then? On us! The truth is we have taken sides, right from our personal lives to social, we tolerate and encourage gender discrimination and gender crimes. Not that this is a foolproof example, but it may act as a cursory indication of how deep the rot is within us, here is what I am talking about – पिलपिलाते-हुए-आम-लोग. The truth is India is being gang raped every day, after administering the sedatives of politics, religion, fake journalism, lazy intellectualism, and a deep support for personal and social nepotism in all these spheres. The truth is the ones who are changing the world the good old way of changing themselves have been silenced by design. The truth is that all the potential agents of change have disappointed our country once again and on top of that list sits the sorry figure of the most crucial agent of change – the Individual – dejected and degenerated.
I hope something comes out of this chaos. I hope we understand that unless we choose to join politics en masse, our politics will remain rotten. I hope that someday we will create more movies like Pink or Parched instead of maintaining a consistent irony between our speech and action. I hope that as journalists, we will report the everyday hearing of a rape case for 20 years if it comes to that and not wait for the survivors’ father to die to spring into action. I hope that we get the basics of our religions right which have love and peace as their fundamental tenets. I hope India learns that the narrative of its religions is being hijacked by mercenaries across the spectrum who force us to keep looking outside for validation.
I hope Indians stop helping the TRPs of news channels that have brought one entire community in the dock for the crime of few. I hope that Indians stop becoming the business pastures of the actors from the film industry who get deaf and mute when one of their own stands as the accused but obsess over shaming Hindustan over ‘Devi’sthan. I hope India learns that the online narrative is fast eating up the real space of this country. I hope we realize that we have started believing that our responsibility ends with a post, a placard, a tweet, a blog, a day’s heartache, or a month’s shock. I hope Indians learn to look away from the light-hoggers and give a chance to the voices of thousands of activists who are working every day of their lives to prevent rape and help the survivors. I hope that when I reflect upon my action or inaction every day, I don’t find myself to have encouraged crimes of any nature, sexual or non-sexual in any way. I hope that someday as a human being, I will be able to look inside my being before pointing accusatory fingers at others – people or institutions. I hope this country sees through this and sees this through.